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Old Mar 17, 2007, 5:32 PM   #11
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cgl88 wrote:
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1) BBuy has for $860 the a100 + kit lens (17-70mm)
That's not really a good deal (especially after you add in tax on top of the high price).

Sony DSLR-A100 with 18-70mm AF Lens at B&H for $749.95

The body only is less:

Sony DSLR-A100 body only at B&H for $669.95

B&H is a very reputable vendor. I'd suggest using them unless you have a special reason to pay Best Buy prices.

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Will there be any issues with using the 28-80mm xi lens with the a100? IS it as good or better than the kit lens? The kit lens is basically worth $100 retail.
It will behave more like a 42-120mm lens would on a 35mm camera from an angle of view perspective (you'll have more apparent magnification with a DSLR because the sensor is smaller than 35mm film). So, you may end up wanting something wider (you can only back up so much). ;-)

To be frank, I've got an 18-70mm kit lens and rarely use it. But, it's a small and light lens for it's focal range. I tend to use my 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 more often as a "walk around". But, at times, 24mm really isn't quite wide enough in closer quarters. So, I'd be hesistant to try using a lens starting out at a longer 28mm as my normal walk around, unless I had some other option available. But, each user will have different requirements for lenses.


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Old Mar 17, 2007, 5:36 PM   #12
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Oops-- those are Canadian dollars? I just noticed your location. If so, that's a good deal.

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Old Mar 17, 2007, 10:59 PM   #13
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JimC wrote:
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Oops-- those are Canadian dollars?* I just noticed your location.** If so, that's a good deal.
Thanks for your input Jim - yes these are Canadian dollars. So do you think both options are a good deal? Right now sony style has a deal where you get a battery and bag on top of the sale price (a100 body, $850cdn, a100+lens, $950cdn).

I'll have to think about the kit lens though. The 17mm will be useful but at the same time, i have a point and shoot for 35mm-like shots. At least i won't have to 'retire' my mediocre dsc-t11 camera and at the same time, i'll still have a use for my film lens.

Geez the 70-210mm will be something like 1.5x210 or 300MM?!
You said the sensor, zoom is more apparent - image quality, etc. is not compromised, right?
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Old Mar 18, 2007, 12:02 AM   #14
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cgl88 wrote:
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Thanks for your input Jim - yes these are Canadian dollars. So do you think both options are a good deal? Right now sony style has a deal where you get a battery and bag on top of the sale price (a100 body, $850cdn, a100+lens, $950cdn).
I dunno... that's almost another $100 just for a battery and bag compared to the Best Buy price for a kit if I'm understanding the differences correctly.

What are batteries running there separately and how much do you really need a bag like they're offering?

I've been using the same few camera bags for years (just swapping cameras and lenses in them and putting the unused ones on a shelf). lol So, that part would not interest me (but, it might someone else that needed one).

Looking at current B&H prices, the Sony battery for the Alpha 100 is running USD$54.95 (which looks like that should translate to around CAD$64.61).

B&H sells a generic battery for less (USD$34.95 which works out to about CAD$41.09 after currency conversion).

Here are the listings:

Sony DSLR-A100 Batteries at B&H

So, I wouldn't go for the Sonystyle.com deal unless I really needed a bag like they're offering (since I've got camera bags), and batteries were running more in Canada than I could find them for here (and I don't know what you'd have to pay for them in Canada).

As for the kit versus body only... I don't even remember the last time I used my kit lens it's been so long. But, I do use my 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 very often (and I've got 24mm on it's wide end). I remember taking some shots of a choir not too long ago where my 28mm f/2 was too long to get the entire group in the photo from where I was sitting. My 24-85mm was "barely" able to get them in (shoulders cut off on both sides). lol

I also have a Tamron 20-40mm f/2.7-3.5 to fall back on if 24mm is still not wide enough (and my 18-70mm kit lens to fall back on if that's still not wide enough). So, I've got relatively good coverage for what I shoot. Every user will be different (some users like the wider zooms in the 11-18mm range for interiors, landscapes and more).

So, I don't know if a lens starting out at 28mm (your existing zoom) would be wide enough for what/where you like to shoot or not.

You're not going to find a better deal on a lens starting out at 18mm compared to the kit lens in a camera body/lens kit if you need that kind of coverage.

But, you may end up wanting a higher quality (and/or brighter) lens for that focal range at some point, too. Some users skip the kit lens because they want one of the third party alternatives (but, you won't find one for the money you can get the 18-70mm in a kit for).

You could always get one anyway. Then, use it for a while to see if it was a good fit for what I shoot. If not, sell it. It's not like you'd lose a whole lot on one that way (since it's being discounted by buying it in a kit anyway). You'll have to be the judge of how much value it would be for your shooting style.

How often do you use the widest zoom setting on your little Sony? It looks like it starts out at a focal length with an angle of view equivalent ot a 38mm lens on a 35mm camera on it's wide end.

That would be just a little wider than you'd have using your 28-80mm lens on the Sony DSLR-A100 (the wide end of your 28-80mm lens would behave more like a 42mm focal length on a 35mm camera). That may help give you a a reference point (how you're using your little Sony's zoom range now).


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Geez the 70-210mm will be something like 1.5x210 or 300MM?!
It's going to appear longer (it will have the same angle of view that you'd have using a 105-310mm lens on a 35mm camera). That's great if you want longer. But, it can make it too long for some conditons.

I can remember shooting with a 70-210mm lens a while back at a concert (just a cheap Vivitar 70-210mm f/2.8-4), and I couldn't get the entire stage in the scene from where I was shooting on it's wide end. Unfortunately, when I tried to back up, people in the crowd interfered with the shots. So, longer is not always better. lol

Quote:
You said the sensor, zoom is more apparent - image quality, etc. is not compromised, right?
Compromised compared to what? :-)

Comparing image quality gets very complex. But, as far as resolution is concerned, you've got 10 Million Photosites in a sensor that's smaller than 35mm film. So, if you put those same 10 Millon Photosides into a larger sensor, you'd still only have 10 Million Photosites.

Take your little Sony as an example. It's got a 38-114mm zoom lens on it, right? Nope. The actual focal range of the lens is only 6.3-19mm. The reason you have the same angle of view as you'd have using a 38-114mm lens on a 35mm camera is because it's got a *very* tiny sensor in it. So, you have a much narrower angle of view for any given focal length.

Is the detail it's able to capture pretty good? Yep... because it's got 7 Million Photosites in that tiny sensor, even though you'd need to multiply the actual focal length by around 6x to see what focal length lens it would compare to on a 35mm camera. Now, that's a tiny sensor. ;-)

But, there are compromises... Because the photosites are smaller (they have to be in order to fit that many of them into a tiny sensor), more amplification is needed for equivalent senstivity to light. That increases noise levels and can also impact dynamic range to some extent. There are always some tradeoffs. But, you're talking about a much smaller sensor in that kind of camera versus the sensor you'd have in the Sony DSLR-A100.

More megapixels are not necessarily a great thing. I've seen more than one Konica Minolta user that jumped from a KM 5D or 7D to the Sony DSLR-A100 and liked the older 6MP models better (sometimes because of lower noise levels at higher ISO speeds).

Is that important? To some users yes, to others, no. There are pros and cons to any of them. Some may value the higher detail of the 10MP sensor for landscapes printed at larger sizes and more. Some may value the lower noise (similar to film grain) of the 6MP sensor with larger photosites for each pixel. But, in good light, the 10MP sensor can produce the better images if you need the most detail for very large prints. It's all a matter of perspective and shooting requirements.

I like low light shooting a lot, so I value ISO 3200 (not available on the Alpha 100). So, I'll probably wait for the next model to see what benefits it may have for me before upgrading. But, if I were shooting film, I'd probably think.. "ISO 3200, you're kidding right -- why would you need that?" lol Compared to your little Sony, you'll probably love the Alpha 100. It's a pretty decent camera. Basically, it's like my KM 5D, only it has a higher resolution sensor, a built in "dust buster", a bit better write speed to media, and some refinements and extra features like Dynamic Range Optimization that my 5D doesn't have.

We're getting a bit spoiled by technology, and sometimes you're really "splitting hairs" between models, when there are not that many differences that would impact your shooting style. What's important to one user, may not be important to another.

Some lenses designed for a 35mm camera can actually improve when used on a DSLR with a smaller sensor, just because the camera is not using the entire image circle being projected. So, if you had some edge softness with a lens on a 35mm model, it may not be there on a DSLR (because you're using the "sweet spot" of the lens). On the other hand, lens coatings have improved over the years, and newer lenses tend to have rear element coatings that don't cause as much flare or issues from sensor reflectivity. You really need to take them on a case by case basis.

Here's one user review I found of a 28-80mm xi f/4.5-5.6 AF lens (which I'm guessing is your lens). Dumont seemed to like it on a DSLR (other than the focal range and needing to stop it down a tad on the wide end for best sharpness, which is going to be common with many lenses on film, too). He rated it a 5 on a scale of 1 to 5 for both sharpness and color, and only downgraded to it a 4 for things like flare. Knowing Dumont (he's a long time KM DSLR user), that means it's a pretty decent lens for a consumer grade lens like that (and many more expensive lenses may not rate that well).

http://www.dyxum.com/reviews/lenses/...asp?IDLens=340

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Old Mar 18, 2007, 9:33 AM   #15
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You folks in the US have a better deal on batteries. Sony NPFM55H is currently listed at C$89.99. When I did the on-line product registration for the A100 Sony provided a $20 voucher which I used to defray the cost of an additional battery.

Jim has made some excellent points about resolution an image quality. One of the practical benefits with the A100 is that images can be quite severely cropped and still maintain reasonable detail. This allows you to rescue some images that you would probably discard if you were using 35mm.

--FrankD

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Old Mar 18, 2007, 10:17 AM   #16
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Jim, if there was a vote for best A100 post, yours would be it. You brought up many good points I will need to consider. Prices certainly are different between Cda and US: in the US prices overall are lower for body/kit/batteries.

FrankD, did you find you needed the extra battery? i would imagine that the battery life (750 shots) would be more than enough for me, but a second battery can never hurt.
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Old Mar 18, 2007, 12:56 PM   #17
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Hi cgl,

Personally, I find a second battery almost mandatory. Obviously, battery life depends on many factors; on-camera flash usage, focus hunting, in camera image viewing just to mention a few. Also, when the battery level indicator starts to decrease from the full charge indication it tends to go down fairly quickly. I have never come anywhere close to getting 750 shots per battery charge. I've never timed it but it take several hours to recharge a battery. I guess you could get by with a single battery but you will have to anticipate camera usage and charge it ahead of time if you are going to take a lot of picture.

I keep one battery in the camera and another in the charger and just swap them over as necessary. I've also noticed that there is some variation in capacity between different batteries. The one that came with the camera is definitely weaker.

Another consideration, since you live in Canada, is cold weather operation. If you have a backup battery keeping warm in your pocket it might save the day! I've seen some discussions on different forums about third party batteries not working at cold temperatures.

Regards,

--FrankD


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Old Mar 18, 2007, 1:24 PM   #18
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Based on the feedback so far it looks like the kit lens, camera bag (the sony one IS nice!), and second battery are all nice things to have!

I am definitely going to get an a100. It's just a matter of when.

I just find it somewhat amusing that sonystyle has a very comparative deal to best buy. Yes, Jim, sadly BB is usually the place that offers very good prices when there is a promotion.
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Old Mar 23, 2007, 1:14 PM   #19
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A question about the kit lens:
Although there is good value getting the 17-70mm lens, i have not read good things about it i.e. sharpness, vignetting at wide angle.

Will the 28-80 xi film lens ( = 43mm at widest aperture) take better quality pictures? JimC your 1 review seems to sound like so). At 43mm it is f5.6 (versus f3.5 on the film body) which might make it more difficult to take good indoor shots.

Without the kit lens, it leaves an option to upgrade to a nicer tamron lens of equivalent zoom but better quality.
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Old Mar 23, 2007, 2:39 PM   #20
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I haven't used my 18-70mm enough to really give a fair opinion of it. I was thinking about that today (I noticed it sitting on a shelf while cleaning up my office). lol

Perhaps some others will comment.

But, based on what I'm seeing in the used market lately for them, I'd probably buy one even if I didn't plan to use it (since it's discounted if you buy it in a kit). You may want to compare the cost of the lens in a kit and look at what they're currently selling for on Ebay in your area. It may save you some money if you buy one in a kit for the sole purpose of selling it. Of course, YMMV and you'd have to research it to see what the market looks like (and it can often change quickly).

I've also seen some posts implying that Sony may have changed some things in the newer 18-70mm lenses being packaged with the DSLR-A100 (for example, differences in lens coatings). I haven't tried to compare an older and newer kit lens myself.
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